You need to build a great website, get visitors to that website, and entice visitors to take action once they get there.
It makes sense: that's where your target audience hangs out so it's the easiest way to reach them, right?
Social media is incredibly unreliable and changes on a consistent basis.
These changes don't benefit small businesses: they benefit the big guys with the huge marketing budgets.
Facebook recently changed their newsfeed algorithm – again.
YouTube started de-monetizing thousands of accounts with low subscriber numbers.
The Huffington Post just ended their contributor program which over 100,000 writers relied on for exposure since 2005.
This recent round of changes across the board has left thousands of small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs staring at their computer screens with their pockets hanging out.
How to Stay in Complete Control of Your Audience
Social media makes it easy to connect with your audience – that's why it's so enticing for small business owners.
Just like a drug, small business websites get a rush of traffic and become dependent on these platforms for growing their audience.
Then social media cuts their supply and they're left out in the cold.
With social media, you aren't in control of your audience.
Relying on third parties for traffic is not a sustainable marketing strategy and unfortunately, thousands of small businesses are learning this the hard way.
The best way to grow your company?
Building direct traffic to your website through email subscriptions and direct traffic.
These are the only methods that put you in control of your audience without dealing with a middle man. (Other than Google or your email campaign service.)
4 Strategies for Driving More Traffic to Your Website
Big companies don't care when social media platforms make changes because they have large marketing budgets.
It might take a little longer than other methods, but by using these strategies, you can build higher quality traffic.
Wouldn't you rather reach the right people instead of as many people as possible?
1. Create Relevant Content
You first and foremost need to give people a reason to visit your website.
Creating relevant and interesting content for your target audience.
Let's use a gym as an example.
A gym could create blogs, podcasts, and videos that teach their audience something interesting. The goal is to provide information that isn't available from your competitors.
This could include a broad range of topics including personal training videos, nutrition blogs, and podcasts.
Search for Facebook groups in your particular niche. Ask the moderators if you can share your content in the group because you think their members would enjoy the information.
Ask members of the group to participate in your podcasts or videos. You could answer questions or provide advice for their problems.
Once they get to your site, entice them to sign up for your email list.
Lifetime Fitness does a great job in this respect. They have an entire domain devoted to their blog and informational content covering health, wellness, and recipes called Experience Life. The Experience Life website also includes podcasts, videos, and four newsletter subscription options.
2. Connect with Influencers
Which internet personalities are the biggest names in your industry? Who has the largest online presence with a loyal audience?
Reach out to these people.
Going back to the gym example, you'd want to look for popular personal trainers or nutrition experts.
Ask them to participate in a podcast or featured blog post where your audience can ask questions. Let your audience know ahead of time so they can prepare questions and share the link with their friends.
Hopefully, this influencer will also share the content from your website with their followers.
This builds your authority as an expert in your niche because you're connecting with trusted influencers.
It also helps build the influencer's authority and gives your audience a chance to connect with experts– it's a win-win-win.
Rachel Barthen is a yoga instructor and Instagram influencer. If you visit the press section of her website, you'll notice she features outlets who have run stories on her. Many influencers are happy to share the news when you write a story that features them.
Rachel also does a great job by including a sign up form on this page. It's a great idea to ask for an email address when showcasing your social proof.
3. Create a Portion of Content Specifically for Influencers
Follow these influencers for a while: take notes on things they share and topics they care about.
Once you figure that out, you can create content on a topic specifically for these influencers.
Find out if they allow guest bloggers on their site.
If they allow guest bloggers, this is a great way to create permanent links back to your website and build your authority.
If they don't allow guest bloggers, they may still be willing to share content directly from your website.
You have a big opportunity for this if you sell products or services. In this Instagram post, Kayla tagged a smoothie shop called Tropic Coconut Bowls in a photo. While the photo with the same smoothie and background was posted on their official Instagram page, a more relatable shot of holding the bowl was made for the influencer's Instagram account.
4. Embed Share Triggers into Your Content
The ultimate question: how do you create content your audience will find so interesting they just have to share it with others?
By embedding share triggers into your content.
These are scientifically proven psychological triggers that entice people to share content with their followers.
In order to do this, you need to understand why people share links, videos, and podcasts with other people. People share information when they believe these links will build positive social capital.
They want to show their followers that they're an interesting, smart, and good person by sharing interesting facts that no one else knows and information that helps others.
Someone following a gym's website might want to share a link explaining how their friends are doing all their favorite exercises wrong or eating all the wrong health foods.
The gym could also write a blog post about donating to a local charity that provides healthy food to low-income children.
People will feel compelled to share this link because it makes them look like a good person – even though they didn't participate in the act themselves.
Anytime Fitness recently ran a blog post called "Why Feeling the Burn May Not Be the Best Advice." This is an excellent share trigger because most people believe feeling the burn while working out is a good thing – it means your exercise is working.
This post had 4.2 K shares.
Stay Dynamic and Think Outside the Box
How you apply these strategies depends on your target audience and business goals.
No matter your industry, you need to create interesting content for your audience and find a sustainable way to deliver it to them.
Social media is great when used in moderation – just don't become dependent on it.
By building direct traffic and staying in control of your audience, you'll never find yourself out in the cold without warning.